With so many art-loving financiers losing their pants in the current economy, the art world might be in for some tough times. But Nate Lowman isn’t going down without a smile. Or, more specifically, without a smiley face. That familiar little yellow circle with two dots and a curve was the ruling icon at his Saturday night opening party at the Maccarone gallery. A festive crowd of fashion and art world aficionados—and even two tween rappers called Little Wiki and Powered By Googs—came out to show Lowman support (Wiki and Googsdid so by free-styling by the front door). Despite the buzz, Lowman admitted to feeling not quite up to smiley-face standards. “I’m too tired,” he said, acknowledging he hadn’t slept much in the weeks leading up to the show. “Though I did manage to work in a shower before, which was nice.” Explaining the smiley faces, Lowman said he thought now was a good time to showcase something reminiscent of happier times—childhood doodles and the feel-good seventies. Lowman’s girlfriend, Mary-Kate Olsen—there with her sister, Ashley—was working a few oldies but goodies of her own: A vintage Prada brown leather jacket with fringe and a very late-nineties messy half ponytail. Further in the back of the gallery, where the likes of Camilla Nickerson and Jen Brill had congregated with the artist’s father, Lowman showed some of his more traditional pieces, including grainy images of an old headstone. (My favorites, however, were a picture of three dirty bottoms and a traditional landscape turned on its side, which suggested something naughtier.) Hopefully Lowman enjoyed his night out—it looked that way later at the Beatrice Inn— because on Sunday day he was starting his next project, a large installation that will debut at the Venice Biennale.
“If anyone is going to do a show during the election it’s Jonathan Horowitz,” said Gavin Brown at the art fête-cum-election party last night at his Enterprise gallery, which featured the artist’s latest, titled Obama 08, along with vases of red, white, and blue roses, hundreds of balloons poised for a ceiling drop, and bowls of chili made with the official Obama family recipe. Guests like Cecily Brown, Nate Lowman and girlfriend Mary-Kate Olsen, Gabi Asfour, and Cynthia Rowley came to check out Horowitz’s work while keeping an eye on two flat-screens set back-to-back. (One was playing Fox News and facing a group of red chairs—where Jessica Joffe was sitting, incidentally—and the other was tuned to CNN and in front of the blue seats. Around the entire room were photographs of each president, with Barack Obama’s picture on the floor, ready to hang up at the end of the evening. “You really want to be around a lot of friends because it’s such a historic night,” said Rowley, who brought her daughters to the party and to the polls earlier in the day along with next-door-neighbor Sarah Jessica Parker and her family. “We had both read that funny piece by David Sedaris in The New Yorker about how he went with his mom to vote, so it sort of inspired me. And I can’t even put it into words how important it is that Obama win.” Brown said his urgency was more business-minded. “If he doesn’t win I can’t really sell any of this junk,” he joked.
I’ll admit it, after last night’s party at Barneys for Influence, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen’s tome on fashion today, which I helped the girls with as editor, I was down for a celebration. But what to do, what to do? Something fancy with some of the subjects of the book, who trekked to Barneys for the party, like Robert Lee Morris, Evan Yurman, and the Proenza Schouler boys? Or something cheesy, like fried food and TiVo? Well, in the end, Mary-Kate and I picked something in between: some Gossip Girl bonding (that’s a pretty intense cheese factor), a few watermelon cocktails at Bungalow 8, and then an old-fashioned dance fest at Lit on Second Avenue. (Ashley was forced into early retirement, since she was waking at 5 a.m. the next day for a Good Morning America appearance.) From every perspective, the book was a long journey, with highs (visiting Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris studio the day before a collection, when he was still putting looks together; going to Richard Prince’s upstate studio) and lows (deadlines are a bitch), but the Olsens say they’ve enjoyed the experience. “I’ve learned so much about some of my personal icons,” Mary-Kate said, sitting with pals like DJ Cassie Coane and Amy Sacco. “And I’ve been so inspired. But tonight is to celebrate what we’ve done!”